March 1, 2018
Brent Ayles
Brent Ayles

Leading and mentoring the next generation

Love: The next killer app

To owners, managers, supervisors and crew leaders: We need to understand the importance of developing and mentoring the next generation. We need to make our workplaces into educational institutions. We must share information and collaborate to make our places of work not just more productive, but more value-driven and purposeful. Studies show when people feel purpose and love within an organization, retention rates increase by 80 per cent. I don’t think we have an industry problem, I think we have a loving and caring issue — from the top down.

Some books and research on spiritual wellbeing refer to engagement paths as The Five Love Languages; Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Acts of Service, Gifts and Physical Touch. The first two almost always win.

Are my words kind? Am I spending quality time teaching and listening?

bowl of cucamelons The New Brunswick Landscape Horticulture Apprenticeship program. Eight members of our team pursued Block One this winter and four others are engaged in the Certified Landscape Technician program.
Through my travel around much of North America, the most common challenge I see is sustaining a good workforce. We should be looking in the mirror every day and asking, “Would I work for you?”

We need to accept and support the fact that many present and future industry professionals will be more suited for apprenticeship programs and industry certification; education focused on teaching trade skills. More one-on-one learning.

Our mindset must change from hiring qualified individuals, to “Let’s lead them to be qualified individuals.” Let’s face the facts: Many young adults are choosing lives outside of attending universities. We need to market to the ones that want to spend the next 30-50 years building the best landscapes our country has seen. I believe there is a trend we are missing. I believe that the generation today — the Millennial generation — has the opportunity to perform work similar to that of two, maybe three generations before us. Building a country, engaged by working with their hands in the outdoors — like the Industrial Revolution. Skilled workmen and -women looking to add tremendous value. We must learn to keep things positive and active. We must learn to ASK what inspires them.

Some are thinking, “This guy is a quack.” I’m telling you, when we love those we lead, they become engaged, focused, and in the end, the customer will keep coming back, making our companies more profitable than ever.
Let’s set the bar high.

Let’s make them feel welcomed.
Let’s challenge all people to ASK questions!
Let your words be kind!

Show we care and that we truly love them, not as just as colleagues or friends but like a family member.

Our future is based upon our ability to connect and engage and expand our influence. Start with those closest to you. Making our workplaces safe and fulfilling with love will be the deciding factor in growing profitable businesses. We are the people that are responsible for the growth of our team — The Next Generation. Those that learn to love will be the ones that survive and prosper in these ever-changing times.
Lead. Love. Learn.
Brent Ayles operates Ayles Natural Landscaping in Riverdale, N.B.